Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friend of Hahamongna

Thanks to the inimitable Altadenablog for alerting me to this:
There will be a meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee this evening at 6:00pm at La Casita del Arroyo, 177 S. Arroyo Blvd. in Pasadena. Much has been said, plans have been made and I'm confused about what's going to be done with Hahamongna.

I wish it were nothing. Hahamongna is accessible wilderness in the middle of civilization, a ragged wedge of land where humans can breathe the scent of sage, watch a heron fly, even make eye contact with a coyote. There's nothing like it in Chicago or San Francisco or even Paris. It's one of the gems that makes Pasadena unique. It is often my muse.

But change may be coming to Hahamongna as inevitably as the Station Fire came charging through the San Gabriel Mountains. There was no stopping it once the arsonist had done his work.

I'll be at the meeting. Maybe I can help make sure the changes are for the good. So much of Pasadena's natural surroundings have already been destroyed; I'd like to see this small, ragged wedge preserved.


Shell Sherree said...

Gosh, that's glorious, Petrea! And it looks like it's in the middle of nowhere. Of this I'm sure ~ Hahamongna must surely stand a greater chance of preservation with you on its side. :)

Turquoise Diaries said...

It looks like a beautiful place. I hope you will take every measures to protect it..

Katie said...

Simply beautiful. Hahamongna and so many other places deserve to be saved from development and destruction. Not to be greedy, but we want more lovely photos like this. Any you and the people of the Pasadena area deserve unspoiled wilderness in your lives. Fight the good fight!

Virginia said...

:You march right in there and tell em what you just told us. And BTW, I love saying "Hahamonga". Cool name.

L Barlow, AIA said...

Hahamongna Watershed Master Plan has been moving forward for over a decade, it's posted here


The issue, as the Planning Commission succinctly put it, was why is the City proposing to spend money to put in a 50' wide road and pull out trees for no particular reason? Especially since the City is committed to its "Green" program and sustainability. Residents need to go pack the house tonight!

Bellis said...

Give Parks and Recreation an area of wild land to look after and they can't help themselves, they have to turn it into ....a park (it was the same in England). With a paved road round the perimeter rather than the dirt paths, improved access points and signs, and so on, the animals and birds will be driven out by all the extra humans, and we'll lose the quiet haven that you describe so well. At least they dropped the boating and fishing lake!

J+P said...

I'll be there.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Shell. The wonderful thing about Hahamongna is it's in the middle of everywhere--surrounded by city, yet it's almost, almost, wilderness.

TD, others have been working on its preservation for a long time. I'm joining forces late in the game, but better late than never.

Katie, the development planned here is roads, tennis courts, parking lots, etc.--i.e., "well groomed" recreational facilities. UGH! And we don't need any of it. Just up the street there's a fantastic recreational facility at Loma Alta Park in Altadena. And just south of the dam there's even more in Brookside Park.

Remember to add the "na" at the end, Virginia. Makes it even cooler.

Thank you, L. Barlow, that is indeed succinct. Really. Why? What on earth for? If they think people aren't using Hahamongna, they should come down after work on an autumn evening and watch while the horseback riders, bikers, runners and dog walkers all politely share the trails. Does anyone on the City Council ever use Hahamongna? I use it all the time and I've never seen my Council Member there.

Bellis, signs will only bring in taggers, just as they did at the Cobb Estate, which was more beautiful before it was "improved" with those graffiti magnets.

Oh, my dander is up.

Oh yay! My sweetie is going to the meeting with me. Now we've got some power on our side.

Anonymous said...


Becky said...

What a lovely photo. I just moved to Pasadena and already I can see the how heartbreaking it would be for them to change Hahamongna.

Pascal Jim said...

If folks are planning on attending this meeting, it's best to arrive EARLY as the Casita's meeting room can accomadate less than 100.

Bring your camera,take many, many photos during the meeting.

Michael Coppess said...

Hahamonga is mostly natural and accessible open space. Not much of that left in these parts and they're not making any more of it. Go get 'em Petrea!

Margaret said...

Power to the people. Good luck at your meeting. Nice shot.

pasadenapio said...

The agenda report for the Hahamongna Annex item at the meeting can be found here.

altadenahiker said...

Well, the Early warning had me beg off, but please give us an update. Of course, I'm totally for not gilding and destroying the lily.

Ms M said...

Lovely sunset photo. I hope your community is able to preserve and treasure Hahamongna, rather than "develop" it.

Petrea said...

Thanks, everyone.

We stayed at the meeting for an hour and a half. It was almost full, not SRO. There was a lot of legal-speak (I guess there has to be?) but ugh. Anyway, it wasn't as scary as I thought. Some newer members of the commission were confused on some issues, namely a legal settlement between the City of Pasadena and a group called Spirit of the Sage, either because they hadn't done their homework or because they hadn't been informed by staff. (Which of the two wasn't clear.) Because this legal agreement affects their rulings, it's important for them to know about it.

However, no rulings are yet final and there's time to study up on it.

In light of our recent loss of forest, members of the commission are in agreement that they do not want to remove non-native trees that are not invasive. A motion to retain current non-native trees until or unless the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee tells the Commission they have to be removed (not exactly this wording) was passed.

The rest of what I heard seemed relatively innocuous. Improvements are planned for the parking lot and Gabrielino trail entrance at the end of Ventura Road. There's going to be better trail access and more native plantings to shore up the hillside. It looks nice. (Although why people insist on putting up "viewing" signs is beyond me. Those things are graffiti magnets. Note the Cobb Estate.)

Then there's a hiking/biking trail across the north side of the stables on the west side of the basin. I'm not familiar with the area and that seems more controversial, but we didn't stay for the discussion. They're keeping it to 10 feet wide. Maybe Karin can speak about what the concerns are? I'm going to walk on that side one of these days and see what's what.

I'm sure there's more. I will try to attend more meetings in the future.

They're probably still over there talking. I don't know how they stand it because it is tedious work. But everyone must be heard. I wanted to hear the presentation by the Friends of Hahamongna but my back was killing me and I was hungry!

Bellis said...

Thanks for the news. Sadly, I had to leave to do a press check in downtown LA. But from what I saw and heard in the first half hour, I really admire the Friends of Hahamongna for attending all these long meetings for over 10 years - making speeches, reading through the fine print of documents,writing detailed counter-arguments, and more.

Dina said...

I hope it will be hands-off your little wilderness as far as humanly possible.